I am not happy. My grandkids are.
We are at the park after school. I am reading email on my cellphone, when I stop to look up. Teo and Eva pick up two large sticks and begin to play Star Wars with them. They are serious in their characters, but laughing none the less. I see Emilio digging up a rock with his stick. My car will soon be filled with rocks and sticks.
I have learned again that each rock and each stick is special. They have unique power.
I look back at my cellphone. I read my seventeenth email on how the environment is being destroyed. I subscribe to dozens of newsletters and organizations. It’s so depressing. Trump is almost vindictive in his environmental policies. Schadenfreude is his.
I look up at the dark blue sky. The sun shines. A magpie loops across the park. Spring shoots are starting to push up through the dry leaves.
My phone sends me alerts. Four out of five are negative. Can I save the turtles? The icecaps are melting. Prevent uranium mining in the Grand Canyon where I hike. Stop oil drilling in our national parks. Call my senator. Sign this petition. Send money. Send more money. It’s exhausting. Most of my friends are exhausted and depressed as well.
I turn off my cellphone and pick up a stick.
I hold it to the sky and look at the twigs sticking out. It looks like a small tree. It is fractal in nature’s design. An ant crawls up the stick. It is busy, but doesn’t appear to have a cellphone. It may not be happy, but it seems to be part of the grand design and perfect in its place.
I have a sword fight and am dispatched by Eva. I fall to the ground and smell the leaves. Then there is a hog pile with me on the bottom. I forget about the 1.2 Megatons of CO2 that will be released each week from the Dakota Access Pipeline that Trump has just rammed through. I forget about my arrest there. For a moment, I am at the bottom of a pile of screaming kids. Happiness is relative.
So that’s it.
I believe all of us who care for the earth have a serious and important cause. It is not play. But we need to put our cellphones down. Turn them off, stop reading emails. Stop sending ‘end of the world emails.’ Stop checking Facebook. We need to go outside.
If we want to save the earth, we need to walk outside and breathe. Look at the beauty of the world. Talk to each other. Bring a friend. Perhaps bring someone who doesn’t share your values on the environment. Or it really will be too late.
Savor the Earth!
L. Hobart Stocking